OSWEGO, NY – The Hastings man accused in a double murder last year wants his case to go to trial.
James H. Steen Jr., 40, of 91 Hogsback Road, appeared briefly in Oswego County Court on Friday. He again rejected a plea deal offered by Oswego County District Attorney Don Dodd.
Steen is charged with four counts of second-degree murder and one count of first-degree murder.
He is alleged to have killed his estranged wife, Victoria Steen, 29, and her boyfriend, Charles Carr Jr., 21, in the Villager Apartments, Pulaski, on Sept. 12. He surrendered to police after a seven-hour standoff.
Oswego County Court Judge Walt Hafner noted that the defense has indicated they won’t hire a psychiatrist or psychologist to examine Steen and won’t have a report done; and neither will the prosecution.
“That’s correct, your honor,” replied James McGraw, Steen’s attorney.
“Alright. That’s good that we’ve accomplished that now,” the judge said. “Is this a case that needs to be scheduled for trial or do you want to discuss resolution, Mr. Dodd? I guess that’s what we’re here for today.”
Both lawyers indicated they were ready to proceed to trial.
Last month, Steen had been offered a deal of 30 years to life if he pleaded guilty to two counts of the second-degree murder.
“You’re not interested in working out something, even less than 50 to life?” the judge asked, noting the sentences might run consecutively.
“That possibility exists, your honor. But the best offer so far is 30 to life,” McGraw replied, adding his client wasn’t interested in taking a deal right now.
“Alright then, I’ll find a trial date and set it down for trial,” Hafner said, adding that it could be sometime in May.